The National Center for Safe Routes to School is pleased to announce the release of The Walking School Bus Program: A Primer and First Steps, an online audio/video training program that provides strategies and tips for planning a Walking School Bus program.
Safety is one of the most common reasons for parents to be reluctant to allow their children to walk to school. Walking School Bus programs address safety concerns for families who live within walking or bicycling distance of school by providing adult supervision.
A Walking School Bus is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school or as formal as a well-planned walking route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers.
“More than providing safety, a Walking School Bus is fun for kids as they explore their world and interact with friends on the way to school,” said Nancy Pullen-Seufert , associate director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School. “Kids love it! And adults love it too, they get a lot out of it.”
The new online training program was developed for the National Center for Safe Routes to School by the PedNet Coalition, a national leader in developing community programs and campaigns to encourage people to walk, bike, and use transit. PedNet, which is based in Columbia, Mo., also operates a large Walking School Bus program with 13 schools, 200 volunteers and more than 500 children, and shares its expertise through workshops around the country.
“PedNet used its expertise to inform the new online training,” said the National Center’s Pullen-Seufert, “which shares practical approaches, community-tested processes, and tools to assist communities in planning and organizing a Walking School Bus program. They did a great job incorporating new ideas, models, examples and lessons from their experience of the last seven years.”
Pullen-Seufert said that parents, PTA members, teachers, school administrators and community leaders are the most likely users of the new online training program.
“Participants will learn how to prepare, build momentum and launch a Walking School Bus program, including identifying community partners, and securing program funding,” Pullen-Seufert said. “And we think the audio/visual format will make it easy for people across the country to access the training and learn from PedNet’s experience.”
The Walking School Bus Program: A Primer and First Steps is available online at http://apps.saferoutesinfo.org/training/walking_school_bus.
For more information, contact:
National Center for Safe Routes to School
Established in May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School assists states and communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The National Center serves as the information clearinghouse for the federal Safe Routes to School program. The organization also provides technical support and resources and coordinates online registration efforts for Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day in the U.S. and facilitates worldwide promotion and participation in International Walk to School Day. The National Center is part of the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center with funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. For more information, visit www.saferoutesinfo.org.